Apple Applies for Patent on Wireless iPad Charging via Smart Cover

Apple has applied for a patent for an interesting take on wireless charging, allowing a Smart Cover with embedded battery to recharge the iPad (discovered by AppleInsider).

ipad_smart_cover_inductive_charging

At first blush, Apple's invention, aptly titled "Integrated inductive charging in protective cover," appears to simply be a first-party incarnation of upcoming products that use inductive charging to transfer power to an iOS device. These components usually incorporate an induction coil and transformer that outputs power via a cord plugged into the device's dock connector. Apple's patent filing describes something different.

Instead of sourcing power from a stationary dock, Apple's invention calls for a tablet case, or more specifically an iPad Smart Cover, to hold the inductive power transmitter. In some embodiments, an internal battery is disposed within the case, basically creating an "on-the-go" wireless charger.

Wireless charging efficiency relies on close proximity between the transmitting and receiving induction coils. Apple's existing Smart Cover magnet system uses magnets with alternating polarities to ensure a precise alignment of cover to iPad, a pairing that would help optimize the charging system.

The system would automatically charge the iPad when the cover is closed, with the cover itself being charged conventionally by plugging it into a power source via USB, although Apple notes that solar cells could also be incorporated into the cover.

Apple has had a long-standing interest in various forms of wireless charging, but the technology has yet to make its way into the company's mobile devices. Just last week, a report suggested that Apple may be introducing wireless charging the iPhone as soon as this year, although it seems like a relatively unlikely addition for the iPhone 5S.

Alongside last year's introduction of the new Lightning connector, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller downplayed the importance of wireless charging, although Apple executives have been known to dismiss certain features only to introduce them in future products.

As ever, we note that Apple applies for patents on a significant number of ideas that never make it into production, but wireless charging is growing in popularity and it seems likely that Apple will introduce it at some point in the future.

Related Roundup: iPad
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
96 months ago
Nice.
But what I'd much rather like is for Apples standard headphones/ear-plugs to become wireless. That would be a killer feature for me. I hate those tangling white wires.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
96 months ago

How innovative!!!


That would give me about 5 minutes more of battery life.

Lol - damn cover wouldn't even stay on with that weight.

Seriously this is the next big thing?


Actually if you look at the volume of the smart cover's space for battery cells, you could probably get at least a couple of hours out of a battery packed Smart Cover. And if they implement their capacitive LCD or solar Smart Cover patents, this could become one of the most functional cases ever.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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96 months ago
So instead of plugging in the iPad, you have to plug-in the iPad cover? And this is more convenient how?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
96 months ago
So it's simply an extended battery in a cover...

Still having to plug & unplug and attach extra things to your device, this sidesteps the benefit of induction charging completely.

If they're not going to do a simple charging pad, then the connector should at least be MagSafe.
First no HD capability then..., Lightning really seems like an expertly executed, ill-fated misstep.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
96 months ago
This thread is full of /facepalm
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
96 months ago
I don't get it

This sounds a bit odd to me.

Why would one want to pack an inductive charger *with battery* into a cover? After all, you take the cover around with you. It might make some sense if the cover contained solar panels.

So how do you charge the cover up?

Mmmm, on second thoughts, the more useful thing might be if the cover acted a bit like a "reserve tank" or battery extender. When you charge the iPad, that drives the induction in reverse. But why use induction when you could probably have electrical contacts on the hinges?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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